Evanston RoundTable
A group is hoping to transform the former E-Z Spuds building at 2223 Washington St. into a business center, including a laundry cafe. (RoundTable photo)

Good morning, Evanston.

A proposal to make the vacant E-Z Spuds site into a new home for a collection of businesses, including a laundry cafe, has moved a step closer to approval. Evanston City Council members voted in favor of introducing the proposal at the April 12 City Council meeting and could vote to approve the zoning request at the April 26 meeting.

The development would house a collection of small businesses in the space, including The Laundry Cafe, an idea conceived by police officers Tosha Wilson, a detective with the Evanston Police Department, and her cousin Jacqui White, an officer in Highland Park; nail and hair salons; a medical office with an emphasis on well being; a commercial kitchen; and more.

The Traffic Guy with a mask

Writing about yesterday’s Earth Day celebration, the Traffic Guy sheds light on its origins: In response to a massive oil spill in 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, inspired by the student anti-war movement, sought to raise awareness about air and water pollution through “teach-ins” on college campuses. Eventually, organizers “changed the name to Earth Day, which immediately sparked national media attention, and caught on across the country. Earth Day inspired 20 million Americans – at the time, 10% of the total population of the United States – to take to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate against the impacts of 150 years of industrial development which had left a growing legacy of serious human health impacts.” [earthday.org]

In other news, City Manager Erika Storlie writes in support of the proposed Skokie water contract, arguing that it is good news for Evanston taxpayers.

Elsewhere on the RoundTable Website

Narcissistic Co-worker Strikes Again. And Again. Dear Gabby, My co-worker is one of those people who talks incessantly about himself and never asks anything about you. A simple “Hi, how are you,” on the way to the restroom can turn into an earful about the book he just published, the talk he just gave, or if you’re really unlucky, his recent divorce. In the meantime, you could have just won the Nobel Peace Prize and he wouldn’t say boo. It is so annoying! How can I subtly say to him, knock it off!

COVID-19 Update on April 22: Fourteen New Cases in Evanston, 3,170 in the State. The City of Evanston’s dashboard is reporting today that a total of 66,695 vaccine doses have been administered to residents of Evanston. This includes vaccinations administered by the City and its partners and by others. Of Evanston residents 65 and older, 85% are fully vaccinated, and 100% have received at least one dose. Of Evanston residents 16 and over, 41% are fully vaccinated, and 70% have received at least one dose.

Open Letter to the Community: Observe COVID-19 Protocols. I was motivated to write this letter after an uncomfortable exchange with another parent about COVID safety rules for an outdoor sport. I understand and appreciate that every person on this planet has been adversely affected by COVID-19. We’ve all had disrupted lives, canceled plans, financial stress, job uncertainty, childcare issues, etc. All of us have struggled with the anxiety of the uncertainty of an evolving deadly disease. But the burden for healthcare workers is unique.

Masked Person of the Day: Demitrous Cook

Charles Wilkinson’s Meditation: Conditional Love. A while back I asked a friend, playfully, “If you were a word what would it be?” He thought for a bit, then said, “A word? Not a tree or animal? So many choices.” … “Then he asked, “What about you?  What word would you be?” Almost without thinking I said, “Caring,” and he said, “Oh, that fits.” But then I added, “Because I’m needy.”

Young Evanston Artists Foundation Announces Mid-May Pandemic-Friendly Urban Gallery Walk. Young Evanston Artists Foundation 31 announces the return of its annual art festival – but not to Raymond Park, where it has been held since 2015. Due to the ongoing pandemic and restrictions on public gathering, this year YEA! returns to the streets, where the festival began for an Urban Gallery Walk down the Main/Dempster mile, with artwork available for viewing for more than a week.

ETHS wildkit logo

Second Half Surge Delivers 5-0 Soccer Win for ETHS Girls Soccer Team. Eleven different players have scored goals for the Evanston girls soccer team so far this year. Eight different players have been credited with assists. The Wildkits may still be a work in progress in the early stages of the 2021 season, but it’s certainly fair to say that the offense is ahead of the defense.

Young Voices of Evanston From Pope John XXIII School. Pope John XXIII School added a new feature to its observance of Black History Month. Teacher Meaghan Heaton created a contest open to all middle school students (6th, 7th, and 8th grades), which is optional. She writes that she saw the contest as a way to further the school’s “ongoing effort toward racial equity and as a response to students’ clear desire for expression of their Black identity and/or their increased understanding of this identity within their community, especially in the midst of our national reckoning.”

COVID-19 by the numbers: We are checking in with many sources to keep you updated on COVID-19 cases and vaccine information.

  • Fourteen new cases were reported yesterday in Evanston; the seven-day average is nine.
  • Northwestern University reported 28 new cases for the seven days ending April 21, up from 19 reported the previous seven days ending April 18.
  • There were no fatalities reported yesterday. Evanston has lost 116 residents to the pandemic.
  • Our City’s positive test rate for the past seven days is 1.2%; in suburban Cook County it is 5.7%, and in Illinois it is 3.8%. 
  • The number of cases per 100,000 population over the past seven days is 82 in Evanston, 170 in suburban Cook County, and 159 in Illinois.
  • Illinois received 845,600 doses and used 861,500 doses of the vaccine in the past seven days and has about 853,000 doses, about one week of supply, in inventory. Illinois has used 80% of the 10.6 million doses received to-date.
  • Some 3.6 million or 27.9% of total Illinois residents are fully vaccinated, including 478,400 in the past seven days.

Variants: The Illinois Department of Public Health now reports 1,585 cases of more infectious COVID-19 variants including 1,141 cases of variant B.1.1.7 (U.K.), 328 cases of P.1 (Brazil), and 97 cases of B.1.427/429 (California). 

Evanston Vax Facts: Some 70% of Evanston residents 16 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 41% of residents 16 and older are fully vaccinated. The proportion of Evanston seniors vaccinated is higher; 100% of residents 65 and older have received at least one dose and 84.6% are fully vaccinated.  

Registration for City vaccination clinics is prioritized by age, from oldest to youngest, starting with those 45 and older this week. More details are available on the City’s Vaccine Dashboard.

Vaccination has opened up in Illinois: Everyone 16 and older is eligible for vaccination in the State of Illinois. Given the limited supply of vaccines the City of Evanston is receiving, you may be able to schedule an appointment earlier at vaccination sites in suburban Cook County, the State of Illinois or Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) sites. 

The FEMA drive-through site in Gary, Indiana has appointments available today. The site is located at Roosevelt Park, about a 70-minute drive from Evanston. When will the majority of Illinois residents be vaccinated? If current vaccination rates persist, half of all Illinois residents will be fully vaccinated by early June and 70%, the threshold at which some experts believe herd immunity is achieved for COVID-19, by mid-July.

The RoundTable is adding journalists to our stable of writers. As we expand our coverage, we’re looking for reporters interested in covering topics related to Evanston schools, arts, business, and City news. Interested? Please email us at news@evanstonroundtable.com with a resume and writing clips.  

Around the Web

  • With bipartisan support – and the help of Evanston Democratic Representative Robyn Gabel – the role of midwife moved one step closer to becoming an officially licensed occupation in Illinois. Yesterday the Illinois House passed HB 3401 to license professional midwives.
  • From Boston Herald’s MotorMouth – Q: The Illinois Tollway recently announced that cash tolls will no longer be used. People who don’t have a transponder and/or out-of-staters must pay within 14 days. And they must figure out what they owe. My question: Why doesn’t the tollway use machines that accept credit cards? The whole world has come to accept credit and debit cards as a result of COVID-19. It would make life much easier. — A.F., Evanston, Illinois
  • A: The tollway system does accept credit cards, but not at toll booths, which are history. You don’t even have to sign up for a transponder. The tollway will bill you and send you an invoice (which you can pay online) if you set up a Pay-By-Plate account. Your license plate is read by a camera. I have a Pay-By-Plate account and live out of state (Virginia). My EZPass will also work.

To support the work we do and continue to make the RoundTable free for all, please join our community of engaged citizens and become a member today. Your donation is tax-deductible. 

Like what you’re reading? Share it!

If you appreciate the RoundTable newsletter, please forward it to friends and suggest that they sign up!